What is aging? Aging is not a mysterious metaphysical phenomenon. Aging happens in the particulars. Your arteries become clogged. Your arthritis flares up. Age is not just a chronological measurement; it's the rate at which the primary internal guardians of health--your cardiovascular and immune systems--decline.
While your chronological age is fixed, your biological age may be years older--or younger--depending on a combination of factors. RealAge offers a revolutionary, systematic program that calculates the aging effect of more than 100 different health behaviors--ranging from diet and medication to stress control and chronic smoking--and enables you to assess your own biological age. Most important, it shows you how to design a specific path to improving or reversing your own aging trajectory.
Developed by Dr. Michael F. Roizen, chair of anesthesia and critical care at the University of Chicago and preventive gerontologist, along with four other scientists, the RealAge program is based on cutting-edge scientific research. Dr. Roizen and his team have pored over 25,000 medical studies, evaluating what they tell us about aging and what they tell us about the prevention of aging.In RealAge, they present the complete results of their analysis for the first time.
Each chapter covers a broad health topic--for example, how the right vitamins and supplements, exercise, or diet can be used to control how your genes affect you--and calculates the RealAge advantage you will gain by adopting a specific behavior. Charts, fact sheets, and tests give you specific choices to make and describe benefits to be gained so you can measure your success.
Suggested behavior changes are rated in order of difficulty so you can decide whether the result is worth the effort.
Ultimately, this program is about maintaining your health. The better condition you are in, the better prepared you will be to fight the factors that age you. RealAge demonstrates that you can have more control over the aging process. It makes science simple and its promise is irresistible: You may live as young at seventy as you did at forty-four.
Remeber your high school reunion?
Even though everyone was the same chronological age, people no longer looked the same. Some wore the years well, staying young and exuberant despite the passage of time, whereas others looked as if they had aged ten years more than everyone else--and probably had.
Did you know that:
- Financial stress can make your RealAge two to thirty-two years older?
- The difference between having the ideal blood pressure 115/76--and high blood pressure--higher than 140/90--can make a RealAge difference of more than twenty years?
- A tablet of aspirin a day can make your RealAge 1.9 years younger?
- Flossing daily and seeing a dentist and dental hygienist every six months can make your RealAge 6.4 years younger?
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About the Author
Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller RealAge: Are You as Young as You Can Be? He is the chief wellness officer of the Cleveland Clinic and chairman of the Wellness Institute.
Read an Excerpt
Getting Younger-- Just the Facts
It's Easier Than You Think
As a doctor, I have often felt I was fighting an uphill battle. My job is to cure people after they are already sick. But preventing illness in the first place is always the best cure. Practicing my specialty of cardiovascular anesthesiology has meant that I have spent much of my working life with patients who are among the sickest of the sick, people who need bypass surgery or emergency operations to fix potentially fatal aneurysms. After spending so much time in the operating room with patients who were so severely sick, I was frustrated by not being able to do more for them. I was grateful that I really could save lives, but at the same time, I was mad as heck. So many of these patients were sick because they had mistreated their bodies over time. Moreover, every single one of them knew better. They knew that they should exercise more, eat healthier foods, and take care of themselves, but they just weren't doing it. That seemed to me a true tragedy, not to mention a national health care crisis. Why were so many people--smart, educated, thoughtful people--not paying attention to the reports of studies that correlated good health behaviors with long, healthy lives? It would have been easy to blame it on the patients. But it wasn't their fault. Clearly, the medical community was failing to communicate its message effectively.
In my internal medicine practice and my anesthesia preoperative clinic, I told my patients again and again how they could live healthier. I told them how they could lengthen--and strengthen--their lives and howthey could increase the quantity and the quality of their years. But the tide of patients coming into my office and into the operating room with entirely preventable illnesses did not stem. I felt as if all my talk was for nothing. Why did they persist in habits that were harmful to their health, even though they knew better? What could I do--what could all doctors do--to explain health better? Good health is an attainable goal, but my patients weren't listening.
The Beginning of an Idea
One day, a friend said to me, "Health is so confusing. One day the papers are telling you to do one thing, and the next day they're telling you to do the opposite. There's just so much information. I don't know what to do with it all." I empathized, but I didn't know exactly how to change things. How could people measure one alternative against another?
When another friend, Simon Z., developed a severe illness, it all came together. For some reason, stepping out of my role as a doctor and into my role as a friend made the idea flash in my head: Health is like money. It has an exchange value. Health decisions and behavioral choices that you make today are capital toward living younger tomorrow. What we were missing was a common currency for health.
Simon, who was forty-nine, was afflicted with severe arterial disease. He had a terrible circulatory problem that made it nearly impossible for him to walk more than a quarter of a block without terrible pain, and he needed a major operation. His lifelong smoking habit wasn't helping any. Even though he was relatively young, his body was in the condition of someone much older. I was afraid that he might not be my friend for much longer.
Simon was a tough cookie--and an even tougher patient. A self-made man, he had a drive and determination that was hard to match. He had worked hard for everything he had ever gotten in his life, and, with a wonderful family, good friends, and a booming career, his was an American success story. Yet he was a heart attack away from losing it all. As a doctor, I wanted to cure him. As a friend, I didn't want to lose him. For all Simon's attention to detail in his job, family, and friendships, he had overlooked the one thing that made it all possible: himself.
Telling him to quit smoking didn't work. (Quite literally, I called him every single day for years to ask him if he had quit yet. The answer was always "no.")
"Simon," I said one day when he was in for a checkup, "how old are you?"
"Mike, please," he grumbled. "You know I'm forty-nine."
"Simon, this isn't a joke," I replied. "How old are you really?"
"What are you getting at?" he said, eyeing me suspiciously.
"Did you know that all that smoking has made you older?" I asked him.
"Eight years older. Right now, you may be forty-nine. But your body is as old as someone who is fifty-seven, maybe more. For all practical purposes, your age is fifty-seven."
"I can't be fifty-seven," he said.
"Why not?" I asked.
"Because no man in my family has ever lived to the age of fifty-eight."
The message hit home. Simon quit smoking. He began exercising and eating right. He reduced his RealAge and began celebrating "year-younger" parties, rather than his usual "one-more-year-over-the-hill" birthday parties. Over time, he became younger.
Fundamental to economics is the concept of "net present value." Net present value is used by economists to determine the current value of investments that have future payoffs. The RealAge concept allows us to calculate the value of different types of health behaviors and choices. In biologic terms, the difference between your calendar age and your RealAge is a calculation of the net present value of your health behaviors; it is the estimate of what age you are physiologically when compared with the rest of the population.
What People are Saying About This
...Dr. Mike Roizen champions the use of RealAge to encourage each of us to make decisions on our health needs based on the best available scientific evidence...each patient can weigh the benefits to their own well-being and develop a course of action that best suits their lifestyle...
Attending Anesthesiologist, Yale-New Haven Hospital
...Dr. Mike Roizen champions the use of Real Age to encourage each of us to make decisions on our health needs based on the best available scientific evidence...each patient can weigh the benefits to their own well-being and develop a course of action that best suits their lifestyle...(Attending Anesthesiologist, Yale-New Haven Hospital)
..The book will be a major contribution to the public health of all countries whose people read it...
...I like the Real Age concept for what it might do for motivation...the intergration of risks and switch to the positive might make prevention more palatable...(Section Chief Division of Cardio Anesthesiology, Texas Heart Institute)
...This is a different method based on some real science...the program's characteristics provide improved communication to an increasing number of people...I am only sorry that it comes at this late date when so many opportunities to delay my aging have passed me by...(Associate Dean, University of California San Francisco)
This is a different method - based on some real science...the program's characteristics provide improved communication to an increasing number of people...I am only sorry that it comes at this late date when so many opportunities to delay my aging have passed me by...
Associate Dean, University of California San Francisco
...Real Age: Are You as Young as You Could Be is a welcome 'how to' guide to doing what we all want, live longer and more healthy lives...
I like the RealAge concept for what it might do for motivation...the intergration of risks and switch to the positive might make prevention more palatable...
Section Chief Division of Cardio Anesthesiology, Texas Heart Institute
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great book! Sometimes I forget why I shouldn't eat certain foods, or which foods I SHOULD choose to eat! Dr. Roizen outlines some seemingly sound choices. I just finished reading this and am excited about incorporating its information into my daily routine.
This is one of the most sensible, readable books on healthy aging that I have encountered. Nothing gets by without evidence, and all choices are explained clearly, with good details and resources. Roizen uses just enough repetition to get the point across without being annoying. I'll be using many sections of this book as an ongoing reference.